I grin as the first chords of the new Indigo Girls album echo in my room, meeting the sunshine and dancing. The song is Digging for Your Dreams. It takes me a few days after getting Poseidon and The Bitter Bug to learn the words, but the music is so beautiful, and their harmonies are breathtaking.
The Indigo Girls, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, play an eclectic mix of folk and country. I own 10 of their albums, and iTunes seems to have a different genre listing for each of them. Some are rock, some folk, others country, or alternative, or even pop.
Over the next week, I listen to nothing but the new album.
There is a melancholy air to the songs, as many of them are about looking back and finding mistakes.
Semi Precious Weapons have provided the soundtrack to my life for more than a year now, when I first heard their single "Magnetic Baby" after Perez Hilton loved the track and posted it on his site.
Finally, the band is out touring the country on their debut album, "We Love You," which is an amazing collection of garage glam gems that show how much talent is behind the first impressions you might get based on seeing Justin Tranter, the band's lead singer. He tends to like his eyes lined, his hair platinum blonde, and his heels high.
Before the band's recent in-store gig at the Apple Store in San Francisco, Tranter and I headed over to a quiet tea place to do the interview. While Market Street lined with people in advance of the St. Patrick's Day parade, Tranter and I weaved through the crowd. You could see people checking him out in his ripped T-shirt, suit coat, heavy-eyelined eyes, black and grey striped panty hose, and high, high heels the whole way there.
But Tranter was just a delight to talk to, and a great performer a half hour after we spoke. I even got to sing one of the "I've been magnetic since I was a baby" lines when he held the mic in my face.
We chatted about the band, labels (both the record kind and the sexuality kind), the music scene, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Lady Gaga, jewelry, and a lot of other topics over a quiet lunch. Here's what we said:
You can win a signed copy of 'We Love You' by Semi Precious Weapons. It's signed by all four band members.
And the winner is... Biohazard.
By Jeff Walsh
"I Dreamt Under The Water" isn't an easy movie to love, because you never really get a sense of the motivation of the main character, Antonin, yet the whole movie follows him. So, a whole movie without empathy isn't my favorite thing.
The movie starts with a charismatic singer, Alex, Antonin's straight crush and friend. Alex is heavily into drugs, and his descent pushes Antonin to seek comfort in the underbelly of Paris, with gay sex with groups of men in parks, drinking, drugs, and the requisite prostitution.
We see Antonin on several of his tricks with the sadness and empty expression that accompanies all gay movie prostitution, whether sleeping with seniors or aggressively spanking a naked john as he scrubs a kitchen table.
By Jeff Walsh
"Boystown" is one of those movies that are impossible to resist. It's just a perfect Almodovar-inspired Spanish farce that's delicious from beginning to end.
A real estate agent has a dream to turn a section of town into a perfect gay neighborhood with high-end shops and nice restaurants. The only problem is all of the elderly residents still living in his future gay mecca don't want to sell their apartments to him, so he starts killing them.
Rey and Leo have a fractured relationship with a lot of problems, although at the core they are drawn to each other and there is tenderness and love obviously flowing between them.
When one of the recently-killed elderly residents leaves her apartment to Rey, who always did odd jobs for her, he doesn't sell the flat to the real estate agent/killer, but instead moves his mother, who hates Leo, into the flat. She gets to say the best, nastiest lines in the movie.
By Jeff Walsh
"Back Soon" is both the name of the movie as well as the simple text of the note Logan's wife left for him, before she was killed by a drunk driver, the one he keeps in his pocket and kisses when he thinks about her. He decides he needs to sell their house to move on, since this one overflows with memories.
He sells his house to Guillermo, someone with a bad relationship with his girlfriend, who's putting his life back together in a different way.
And such is the dilemma of gay cinema, because you know there are two male leads in a possible embrace on the DVD box, so it becomes more of a question of how or why will something will happen between two seemingly straight guys. But I'm not giving any of that away.
By Jeff Walsh
When I first posted that Spencer Duhm was the openly gay contestant on this season of Survivor, I didn't know that his strategy in the game was to not tell anyone. Each week, I'd watch wondering when it would come up. It never did.
Last night, after 15 days, this 19-year-old University of Florida student was voted off. If you watched the show, it seemed like his weak performance in a physical challenge was the reason, but in this interview, he says more was going on behind the scenes.
Here's what we said:
Hey Spencer. I just watched the show this morning and didn't realize we were going to be talking so soon. It's interesting, because when you were first on the show, I put a notice up on the site that there's a young, gay contestant this season, then as I'm watching the show there was no reference to it, so I figured maybe they're just not using that storyline yet. Until last night, I never realized that no one knew…
It was a conscious decision of mine going into it. I get flak for this, because people say 'Oh, everyone's really accepting…' But I'm thinking, in a social game, people will find any reason to get rid of somebody and I was good friends with all the guys on the tribe, so I don't want some subconscious thing… I mean, I was ona tribe with a bunch of people from the south, and I come from the south, too. I'm not bashing people from the south. It's a known fact that sometimes Southerners can be a little less open-minded to homosexuality, so I first see my tribe and I got people with the belt buckle and the boots and everything, and I'm like, OK, it might not work out in my favor to tell everybody that I'm gay. So if they don't ask me, I'm not going to sit there and offer it up. And they never asked. I felt there was really no upside, and there could be a downside.
By Jeff Walsh
"Clandestinos" is a Spanish film that goes down a different path than a lot of gay films. Three boys break out of juvenile prison and flee to Madrid, where Xabi, the leader of the three, tries to make contact with the leader of a Basque terrorist cell. The other two boys don't know as much about the mission from the start, but one of the boys eventually helps him practice making bombs in an abandoned apartment, with the goal of doing something public and visible to bring the cell leader out of hiding.
To fund his terrorist exploits, Xabi robs johns that pick him up in a shopping mall. One of his johns, from whom he stole money and a gun, is a cop, who doesn't take being robbed easily and tries to track him down.
By Jeff Walsh
"Dog Tags" is an interesting movie, in that it plays with a lot of parallel structures without sacrificing a satisfying story. The movie starts with Nate getting his head shaved by his fiancee before his recruiter comes to pick him up.
Andy is younger and trying to find his way in the world. He comes from privilege and is rebelling with his black clothes and eyeliner. In flashback, we see the guy he's still trying to get over, a soldier wearing dog tags.
Nate joined the Marines to have a better life for both her and his mother, who all share a run-down house together. Between boot camp and being sent to war, Nate goes to buy her a ring. As he's walking down the highway towards the city, he gets picked up by a guy who tells him the ring store requires you to put half down, but if he needs some money...
By Jeff Walsh
"3-Day Weekend" puts the premise right in the title, a group of gay friends spend all of their holiday weekends in a beautiful cabin. But, since it's been the same guys telling the same stories for so long, they decide to mix it up, and every gay guy invites a single gay friend up for this weekend.
The movie tries to beat you to the punch quickly, though, mentioning this is like the set-up for "Love! Valour! Compassion!" before the audience thinks it. Of course, it's always dangerous to mention a good, similar movie, since that means you're setting a bar you better be able to clear.
Of course, we get a lot of archetypes invited. The computer geek someone works with. The centered, connected naked yoga teacher. But the biggest head turner is the last invited guest to arrive, the sex worker. Introductions aren't necessary with him, as three of the guys surprisingly call out his name at the same time when he walks in. It's almost like a sword-swallowing Breakfast Club.
By Jeff Walsh
"Teenage Angst" is an interesting movie, but not really a gay one. This seems to be a trend lately. Hopefully one that ends soon.
I mean, sure, cute teenaged boys in uniform at an all-boys school form an exclusive club. One boy is made to stand naked in front of the rest to be able to attend. They skinny dip together. They are often nearly naked with their bodies draped over one another. And, you know, that's delightful and all. There's a sexual tension that is definitely present in the encounters with the boys, and no women around. It could go in an interesting direction.
But none of them are gay, closeted, have a gay uncle. There's no gay story at all. Nothing. So, the question is... is gay subtext enough? Considering I have a stack of DVDs on my desk, I'd have to say no.
Dustin Lance Black, the young openly gay writer of Milk, won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, with Sean Penn taking the trophy home for his amazing transformation into Harvey Milk.
Black's beautiful speech directly addresses gay youth. Here's what he said:
"Oh my God. This was, um. This was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, and our entire cast, my producers, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus, for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married.
I want to thank my mom who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you, thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk."
Final update: Pat's back!
Update #4: Got an e-mail from Pat. He's finally back home. He read all of the posts on here, and wanted to let everyone know how much he loves and appreciates everyone on Oasis. He'll probably post something later today.
Update #1: I'll add new updates to the top like this, so you can see them better.
Just spoke with Pat's mom again. She finally did get to speak with Pat in the hospital, so that's definitely good for her, to hear his voice and talk to him, since she isn't there in person.
He just wanted to tell everyone on Oasis that he's OK, he misses everyone, and he'll be online again as soon as he can. It could be more than a week, though, just to set expectations. He also wanted to thank Adam personally for being there when everything was happening.
On another note, Pat's mom created an oasis account and posted a forum topic. You can say hi to her there, or send any messages to Pat through her.
Click 'Read More' to see the original post about Pat...
By Jeff Walsh
"Serbis" is not a gay movie. We should get that out of the way up front. This movie from the Philippines mainly concerns a family struggling to make ends meet in a run-down movie theater.
The Pineda family have court cases, pregnancies, and other family issues going on. All of the struggles they are going through doesn't leave them much time to deal with the fact that their "adult only" movie theater isn't attended for the movies they show, but is actually a meeting place for male prostitutes (serbis) and their gay clients.
I thought the movie was well done, but a bunch of interlaced stories stretched across 85 minutes doesn't leave much time to get too invested in any one story. I'd almost have preferred one family story and more investment, but as with any movie from another country, it's always interesting just seeing how people live their daily lives elsewhere.
By Jeff Walsh
"Schoolboy Crush" is a campy, over-the-top melodrama that doesn't aim for realism but, once you get past that, it's always a fun ride.
The first scene in the movie is a sex scene between a young man and a younger male prostitute. We learn very quickly that the man who hired the boy is a high school teacher at a very exclusive all-boys academy in Japan. And there's a new student arriving in the middle of the semester. You guessed it, the teen prostitute.
The two spar throughout the movie, with the boy wanting the teacher to hire him again, or does he actually have feelings for him? The boy's nerdy roommate wants to be part of his life, but is romantically interested, too? Even other boys at school seem to want him sexually… I guess what you hear about everyone being gay at these private schools is true. Even the bully seems equally attracted to and repulsed by the new boy.